Sign of desperation

February 4, 2010

The notion of "recycled news" reached previously unheard-of temporal dimensions with your disappointingly sensationalist report on a therapist's unconventional work nearly three decades ago ("Stark facts exposed about anti-regulation therapist", 28 January).

One has to question the motives of those peddling this decades-old story. If the pro- state regulation lobby were confident that it was winning the argument - which it manifestly isn't - it would stick to engaging in a mature discussion about the substantive issues at hand, rather than skirting the world of smear and innuendo in its desperate attempt to impose its regime on the psychotherapy field.

Brian Thorne showed considerable bravery in going into print about this challenging piece of therapeutic work, and it has made a major contribution to precipitating searching discussions throughout the psychotherapy field about the boundaries and ethics of counselling work - discussions which may well not have otherwise engaged with the subtlety and complexity that these issues entail.

This is just one reason why Thorne is one of the most prominent and respected international figures in the counselling and psychotherapy field - although one would never have guessed that from your report.

It is perhaps the most telling commentary of all on the case for state regulation that thoroughly aired and debated stories that are a quarter of a century old are being hauled out by those determined to use every conceivable tactic to pursue their cause.

Times Higher Education should know better than to get drawn into collusion with such brazen propagandism that obscures rather than engages with the arguments.

Richard House, Senior lecturer in psychotherapy, counselling and counselling psychology, Roehampton University.

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